August 26, 2014
I am so excited to introduce my wonderful mother and talented author, Catherine West! For as long as I can remember, my momma has either been reading books or writing books. But it wasn’t until recently (okay, like 10 years ago!) that she began to take her craft seriously and pursue it as something more then recreational, and I’m so glad she did. Her first book was published in 2011 and when I finished reading it, two things happened: one I wanted to read it all over again and two I was overwhelmed with how proud I could feel as a daughter. My momma has been such an inspiration to me from the very beginning. I hope you are inspired by what she shares with you, and it is such an honour to have her here.
Name: Catherine West
Occupation: Wife, Mother & Author
Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):
I try to either do a workout video or treadmill first thing in the morning, at least four times a week, this keeps me from feeling sluggish during the day. I also try to swim each day (but not in the winter!). I drink lots of water, and probably more coffee than I should on some days. When I feel stuck, I head out for a walk with the dog.
How did you build your blog readership?
This takes time, but I think the key is to keep conversation going with those who comment. Those tend to be the readers who keep coming back. Have an option to sign up so that folks can receive notifications of new posts, and also include sharing buttons for people to share interesting posts with their network. I also make sure that when I post, it shows up on Twitter, Google + and Facebook. If people are interested they can simply click the link and head over.
Who are you inspired by, and why?
I’m inspired by fellow authors, artists, musicians, anybody really who uses their art, chases their dreams and finds joy in the journey. I find a lot of inspiration in Ann Voskamp’s blog posts, (http://aholyexperience.com) and her book One Thousand Gifts. I also recently read Emily P. Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways, and that was really inspiring. I also love Ann Lamott.
To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply, quit?
Ha. I feel like that pretty much every day! Writing is a solitary profession and some days are good, some days not so good. The road to publication is rocky and you have to have a lot of perseverance, patience and a pretty thick skin. I’m still working on all of the above. But knowing that you’ve been given a gift and entrusted to use it for God’s glory is what keeps me going. That and knowing there really is nothing else I’d rather do.
Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life?
I have to make that decision every day. It’s too easy to get stressed with how much work there is to be done, deadlines and other daily activities that need to be completed. To really get the most out of life, I think you need to be able to take a step back, breathe, and decide what things are most important and what you can let go. Sometimes it’s not easy, the letting go. But once the clouds clear, I think it becomes obvious that to truly get the most out of this life we’ve been given, we have to choose to find joy in all things, even the hard and unexpected twists that come our way.
Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live and the books you are writing?
I believe in writing real – meaning I don’t sugar-coat tough issues. Everybody has struggles in life. Some are bigger than others, but we all have challenges we need to deal with. My stories are always about real people dealing with real challenges. I get ideas from all kinds of places, magazines, the news, other people’s stories. Because I write from a Christian worldview, the first thing I do is ponder how God might work through this particular situation. And of course the possibilities are endless. Not that every question has an easy answer, and while I do like writing happy endings, life doesn’t always work the way we want it to. My ultimate goal through my writing is to point people toward hope.
I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?
My agent has four projects (completed novels) out on submission with publishers right now. Anything can happen. I would love to be contracted by a big publisher, but if that doesn’t happen, I will be just as happy to become an Indie (independently published) author. Self-publishing is huge now, and a viable option with so many traditional publishers closing fiction lines or narrowing their market and not accepting new authors. I’ve recently re-released my first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow as an Indie book, so I’m excited to see how that goes. Who knows what the future hold? I’m just along for the ride and determined to enjoy the journey.